If you are thinking you want to compete in a performance event—agility, herding, obedience, rally, earthdog, hunting, flyball, to name a few—with your next dog, you may want to consider one of these breeds that excel at sports like these.
#1 – Border Collie
The Border Collie is thought of as the “star” of the performance world. There are not many breeds that can stand up to them in agility or in herding. They are also hailed as one of the smartest breeds, making them perfect for obedience events as well.
#2 – Papillion
Interestingly, it is a Papillion and not a Border Collie that holds the number 1 spot on the 20 AKC Lifetime Top Overall Dogs list. This number one dog has 38 MACH (Master Agility Champion) titles. The Border collie underneath has 28. Aside from agility, they are also smart and eager to please, so they do well at obedience too.
#3 – Shetland Sheepdog
Five of the 20 Lifetime Top Overall Dogs in AKC agility are shelties. These high-drive dogs love a job and will do anything – herding, agility, obedience, flyball, even dock diving – you ask of them.
#4 – Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman excels in obedience; over 130 of them earned their AKC CD (Companion Dog) title in 2010. Whether it’s Rally, Utility or Canine Freestyle, the breed’s natural ability to be precise and love of work always puts them near the top.
#5 – Poodle
Not only are two poodles ranked in the 20 Lifetime Top Overall Dogs in AKC agility, but 165 of them earned their AKC CD in 2010. Poodles are a well-round and intelligent breed, giving you many options when it comes competing in performance – they can do almost anything.
#6 – German Shepherd Dog
You may not see a lot of GSDs in the agility ring (not that they can’t), but you will see them winning in obedience. They excel at this type of work and truly seem to enjoy it. In 2010, over 250 of them received their CD.
#7 – Australian Shepherd
Another great all-around breed, the Aussie excels at everything from herding to obedience. The breed’s national association, Australian Shepherd Club of America, has a huge agility program and it’s very competitive. In addition, over 200 of them achieved their AKC CD in 2010.
#8 – Beagle
Although a challenge to train, the beagle does very well in performance events if you don’t mind the work. In fact, a beagle has earned a spot in the 20 Lifetime Top Overall Dogs in AKC agility. And of course, the breed excels in hunting trials. However, only 14 of them earned their CD in 2010 – obedience can be a challenge for hunting breeds, who want to follow their noses.
#9 – Rottweiler
This working breed does very well in the obedience rings, with over 110 dogs earning their AKC CD in 2010. They are a serious worker with amazing focus.
#10 – Golden Retriever
Not only are they a great family dog, but they excel in competition as well. Whether you choose hunting trials, agility or obedience, your Golden will be up for the challenge. In 2010, 421 of them earned AKC CD titles, 43 got their UDX and a whopping 527 received their RN title.
#11 – Labrador Retriever
Like the Golden, the lab will do anything you ask him to – from dock diving to obedience – and he will do it well. There are even labs that are fairly competitive at agility, though many prefer the less active obedience rings. 257 of them received their AKC CD in 2010 and 362 their RN.
#12- Border Terrier
Although they are not a common breed as far as numbers of them competing, the Border Terriers that are out there do well. They are fast, agile and intelligent, making them perfect for any performance sport you choose (especially Earthdog!). You will have to work with that terrier ‘tude, however.
#13 – Vizsla
If you are looking for a hunting dog for trials, the Vizsla is a good choice. They were one of the top earning breeds in terms of titles for both Field Trials and Hunt Tests in AKC in 2010.
#14 – Parson Russell Terrier
Another intelligent terrier, the Parson can do anything you ask him to, if he wishes. Once you learn how to train him, though, the skies the limit. Parsons excel at agility, earthdog, and flyball.
#15 – Rat Terrier
A typical terrier, you won’t find him at too many obedience trials, but they are awesome at speed events such as flyball and agility. There is a rat terrier on 20 Lifetime Top Overall Dogs in AKC agility and with the right trainer they can excel at any event, including obedience.
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